Sutematsu Ōyama (1860 – 1919) was one of five girls sent with the Iwakura Mission to receive an American education. She initially lived in New Haven, Connecticut, before moving to Poughkeepsie, New York to attend Vassar College. In addition to graduating magna cum laude, she became the first Japanese woman to obtain a college degree. She also obtained a nursing degree before returning to Japan in 1882. Despite her inability to read or write Japanese, she rose through the ranks of society and obtained the title of princess. She also helped found several schools for women, one of which would later become Tsuda University.
Shigeko Uryū (1862 – 1928) joined the Iwakura Mission as a study-abroad student at the age of 10. After graduating from a high school in New Haven, she joined Sutematsu Ōyama at Vassar College. Uryū received a certificate of completion from Vassar’s School of Music in 1881 and returned to Japan soon thereafter. She would later receive the title of baroness, return to Vassar to give a speech on women’s education, and teach at the Tokyo School of Music.
津田梅子 (1864 – 1929) was the youngest of the five girls sent to study in America alongside the Iwakura Mission. She lived in Washington D.C. with secretary of the Japanese legation, Charles Lanman and his wife. After graduating from primary and secondary school, she returned to Japan at the age of 18. She served as a tutor for Hirobumi Itō’s children and taught at a girl’s school before returning to America to attend Bryn Mawr College. After graduating, Tsuda returned to Japan and became a vocal advocate for women’s education. Along with Princess Ōyama Sutematsu, she founded the Women’s Institute for English Studies, which later became Tsuda College.
Ryo Yoshimasu (1857－1886) was part of the original group of five girls sent with the Iwakura Mission when she was 14 years old. Unfortunately, she returned to Japan within a few months due to medical issues.
Tei Ueda (1856-1939) was part of the original group of five girls sent with the Iwakura Mission when she was 14 years old. Unfortunately, she returned to Japan within a few months due to homesickness.
Other Exchange Students
Kaneko Kentarou (1853-1942). Enrolled in Harvard University in 1876. Later established the first American Friendship Society.
Hikonoshin Okubo (1859-1945). 13 years old.
Nobukuma Makino (1861-1945). 11 years old.
Chijurou Iwashita (1853-1880). 19 years old.
Saburo Yamagatai (1858-1927). 15 years old.
Naohiro Nabeshima (1846-1921). 26 years old.
Fumisuke Matsumura (1840-1896). 32 years old.
Kaneyuki Hyakutake (1842-1884). 29 years old.
Chokichi Kikkawa (1860-1915). 13 years old.
Nagatomo Kuroda (1839-1902). 34 years old.
Takuma Dan (1858-1932). 14 years old.
Hidetake Egawa (1853-1933 19 years old.
Tadatake Morita (1844-1917). 28 years old.
Tadafumi Torii (1847-1914). 25 years old.
Sumihiro Omura (1830-1882). 41 years old.
Tanikinaru Shimizu (1845-1882). 27 years old.
Toshiaya Bojo (1847-1906). 25 years old.
Saneyo Mushanokoji (1851-1887). 21 years old.
Tosuke Hirata (1849-1925). 23 years old.
Tsumunaga Matsuzaki (1851-1887). 21 years old.
Yoshio Kusaka (1851-1923). 21 years old.
Tokusuke Nakae (1847-1901). 25 years old.